Chorus

Chorus: (n) the. part of a song that is repeated after each verse

I’m a songwriter. Let’s just leave it at that.

I grow weary of the sentences that follow proclamations, trying to convince the listener of the credibility and importance of the proclaimer.

Obviously, if I were a great songwriter you would know me. Even if I were a great songwriter who was under-promoted, you would probably be familiar with something I have written.

I write songs because they are the most gentle way to communicate a message to a hearer. There’s something about melody, harmony and even rhythm that brings down our defenses, opens our hearts and exposes our soul.

Even a good songwriter who may not be great will tell you that it’s all about the chorus. Some people refer to it as a “hook chorus”–the part of the song that’s easy to remember, using as few words as possible to communicate volumes of ideas.

Simple. Singable. Often rhyming. And dare I say, clever.

These are the attributes that go into a good chorus, which follows a heartfelt verse.

For the truth of the matter is, many people will never remember the narrative of a song, but the chorus will be hummed and regaled for years to come.

After all, the Beatles got by with:

“Na, na, na, na-na-na-na

Hey Jude…”

Certainly an economy of syllables, producing a monster of memories.

 

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Cha-Cha

Cha-cha: (n) a dance with Latin American rhythm

“Someone talked me into it.”

Those are the words that usually precede every horror story.

When I was in high school, some friends of mine wanted to go to a dance club because there were a lot of girls there and even though they
were not necessarily in favor of becoming “light of foot,” they were very interested in possibly lighting up some of the fine ladies.

So we decided to practice dancing–including the cha-cha.

I am large. I am pretty agile for a large person, but also self-conscious about swaying my hips and “jutting” in bizarre intervals.

My friends insisted that I looked great. They did this because they wanted to go to the club, and I had the car to get us there.

We selected to wear some fancy clothes–at least by the standards of our home town of fifteen hundred people. We arrived at the club, and I came in with the confidence of the Titanic. I mean the Titanic when it started its trip.

I began dancing and soon all those around me stopped to watch me do the cha-cha with this tiny young girl with auburn hair. I thought they were viewing because I was good, but actually they were stunned by the sight of such a portly fellow trying to do such tiny steps.

They laughed.

Is it necessary for me to say that no one likes to be laughed at? Yet running out of the room crying was not an option. Raining down fire from heaven ala “Carrie” was not available. But I got my revenge.

I just kept dancing.

After awhile, people got tired of staring, started moving themselves, and in no time at all, I was ignored.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Maybe you can dig it out. Here’s a clue:

It’ll have something to do with “keep dancing.”

 

 

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Cadenza

Cadenza: (n) a virtuoso solo passage inserted into a musical work

When I attended my first musical jam session in Nashville, Tennessee, and I was sitting behind the piano, terrified that I would not know any of the songs floating through the air, suggested by my fellow-musicians, I was rather delighted that I turned out to be somewhat able to keep up–grabbing a chord here and there and playing along.

It went along real well until one of the musicians shouted out, “Take it, Jon!”

It was time for me to express my solo soul, in context with the mutual band experience.

I needed a cadenza. I needed some sort of passage I could play for about eight bars that showed that I was worthy to be part of such a musical combo.

The first time this was shouted out, I brought things to a complete halt by turning to the room–having stopped playing altogether–and saying, “What?”

They found this hilarious, explaining that all they wanted was for me to take a “ride.”

After giggling because I didn’t know what “ride” meant, I then was informed that I was supposed to improvise.

God, I wanted to do good. I wanted these fellow-troubadours to be impressed with me.

So the next time they said, “Take it, Jon!” I did.

I took it so much that I over-played, lost the rhythm and brought the whole musical experience to a screeching halt. One of them counseled me, “Maybe just a few less notes…”

Therefore, the next time I was afforded the opportunity, I played so few notes that they thought I had missed my cue.

After that they were rather reluctant to have me “take it.”

Honestly, I think everybody walked out of the room that night thinking, “He seems to know the chords … but he sure can’t do a cadenza.”

Or some Nashville way of saying that.

 

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Band

Band: (n) a group joined togetherDictionary B

We can learn a lot from music.

First of all, music admits that it gets better as it includes more elements.

  • Melody welcomes harmony.
  • Harmony is not prejudiced against rhythm.
  • And rhythm doesn’t think it has a beat on everything.

What makes a great band?

  1. Find your heart.

Whatever makes you tingle, feel and think.

  1. Find your voice.

How do you want to say it–in a way that will edify human beings instead of depress them?

  1. Find your mates.

Locate those of like, precious integrity and purpose–and hang onto them.

  1. Find your sound.

Create something which only exists because you do.

  1. Find your audience.

See if your chimes ring anybody’s bells.

If we apply those principles to everything we do–politically, spiritually and emotionally–we will come up with much better solutions.

A band does not believe it’s the only thing on the scene, but it must know that it’s on the scene… because the only thing it brings is another reason to believe.

 

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